How Do You Use Your Chi Energy?

Are you fully harnessing your Chi energy when you exercise? Here are some things to consider to make your exercise routine more focused.
Are you fully harnessing your Chi energy when you exercise? Here are some things to consider to make your exercise routine more focused.
Water Rippling Energy Outwards

It’s January at any gym across the globe: people are running on treadmills in front of big screen T.V.’s, on elliptical machines wearing headphones, reading magazines on stationary bicycles. They’re taking classes filled with loud music and instructors yelling encouragement, “You can do it!!” But you can’t “conquer” the body.

In this atmosphere the body and the mind are completely disconnected; the mind is distracted, seeking pleasure outside of the activity it perceives as a chore and the body is on autopilot—your Chi energy is distracted.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon. After a month of overindulgence on many levels (drinking, eating, lying around with books or movies) everyone is now reforming themselves, “getting back on track” in one huge collective movement to undo the damage of the past weeks. We partied with high energy over the holidays and now we’re partying in the gym with great enthusiasm and zeal, but little mindfulness. It’s hard to get real pleasure from exercise when there’s no connectedness.

Deep pleasure comes from training with attention and finesse and focusing your Chi energy.

Skill-oriented athletic arts and practices like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, Aikido, ballet and other forms of dance foster pleasure in movement, but only after commitment and discipline. There’s a difference between training your mind with persistence and attention so that something becomes second nature in the body, and “working out” on autopilot. The Happy Body exercise routine requires this kind of mindfulness, and the practice and mastery of it can bring deep pleasure over time.

The point of micro-progression is not to push but gradually improve, working toward goals that are based on clear standards. Just as a trained dancer knows exactly what to do when they hear the first notes of a waltz, someone immersed in their own Happy Body routine can measure their breath and follow through the movement in perfect form. It takes years to master a waltz, otherwise, you’re just approximating the steps.

Next time you exercise, choose to be mindful of your Chi.

Showing the focus and grace of a ballet dancer

Clients sometimes ask if they can modify the order of exercises for novelty or scramble the repetitions for “efficiency,” looking for shortcuts or ways to avoid the discipline of following the routine precisely. But you would never cut a move out of a tai chi sequence or a ballet performance. In order to master the Happy Body routine, you must trust it and follow it with mindfulness, without resistance. Resistance can come in the form of complaining about repetition, familiarity, the degree and control required, the speed of micro-progression.

However you call it: energy, qi, or chi, use it wisely.

At the heart of resistance is fear of change.

Water Rippling Energy Outwards

Looking for an achievable and sustainable approach to exercise?

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  • “You would never cut a move out of a tai chi sequence or ballet performance” – very wise to have the same mindset when doing THB. This is a Master’s Mindset. Thanks for making this so clear!

  • Thank you Jersey and Anhelia
    Have a wonderful Nee Year.
    I love seeing your joy in Poland
    Take care and I will love you both always,
    Janis Kanter

    • Well, there is a barometer of real time: misspelled my own last name! And I deeply know the value of mindfulness. So, had to fess up. And it’s Studdiford.

  • After having earned a black belt in Kenpo and earning several other belts in various martial arts as a young man, I undertook Tai Chi quite seriously in the 1970’s in Berkeley with a true master (Yun Chung Chiang). For several years it became a ritual daily 5-hour “meditation” from warm-ups through the various “levels” of the form to final bow. I benefited from it in so many ways – physically, mentally, spiritually. Now, at 68 years old, for the last almost 10 years, the Happy Body routine has become my discipline, offering so many of the same benefits and more, i.e., the intentional strengthening to slow the inevitable decline of aging, the hour (versus 5) that better fits my daily life at this juncture, the “portability” of the routine when traveling, …with the same grounding, centering, aligning, and invitation to the present moment, if undertaken with such an attitude. I am so grateful. Thank you.

  • I have been doing the happy body sequence 1 for 7 months. Working mostly on mobility of the ankle, knees and hips.

    Seeing improvement in my squat I began the second sequence and hurt my ankle. I was not ready for overhead weight. How do I dial back on the squat without loosing the progress I’ve made.

    • Hi Eva,
      Welcome to THB. To resolve your problem it would be beneficial for you to look into our Blog posts: The Key Exercise of The Happy Body, and When Shortcuts TurnInto Longcuts…
      I’m sure you will get the idea why I point to them. There is always a way!

  • I have been studying the books before jumping in to the program – I bought them for myself as a 50th birthday present in November. I am hopeful that is the program I have been looking for all of my life – something that I can have longevity with and look and feel my best. While conventional weight charts have me on the high end of normal range it appears I have 35 lbs to lose and close to 10 lbs of muscle to gain! I have just begun Sequence 1 and am sore, I can see I need to take a mindful step back and go slow. The videos are very helpful! I like the blog posts also. I am going on a vacation next week (getting out of chilly Minnesota!) and won’t have access to dumbbells, do you have any suggestions on keeping up with a workout while traveling? Thank you!

    • Hi Lisa,
      The simplest solution is to do the whole routine without the weights, just focus on perfecting the movements, built in extensions that improve flexibility and mobility.

  • Welcome to THB Lisa! What a fantastic gift you gave yourself. My suggestion would be to use water bottles, or not use the weights at all. Focus on flexibility and do the movements in sequences. Good luck!

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